A large portion of my parenting life so far has been spent getting things ready. I get meals and bags and sippy cups ready. I tie shoes, brush hair and wrestle small people to change diapers until everyone is ready.
There was one thing I did not get ready for…losing a pet.
Don’t go feeling too sad now. It was a fish. One small fish, to whom I had zero attachment because well, it’s a fish. You can’t exactly cuddle a fish.
The plan was the hubs would go to the pet store after the kiddos were in bed. We could do the ol’ switcharoo before they noticed the dead Beta floating in our fish bowl. Except our four-year-old daughter notices everything.
We went with “honesty is the best policy” and gave it to her straight: Nemo was dying. Her head fell and she started sobbing.
You guys. I had to turn my head so she wouldn’t see me laughing. (Please don’t judge me.) I had not anticipated that kind of reaction and suddenly found the whole situation comical. (If one of my children doesn’t end up in therapy, it will be a miracle.)
The tears shooting out of her eyes went right into my husband’s heart. He instantly went into “We can fix this” mode, assuring her we would get a new fish right away. And by “we”, he meant, “me”. I didn’t want to, but her pitiful face broke me down and I folded like a cheap suit.
Three dollars and forty-nine cents later, we headed home with a new Beta. I felt good. The fish drama was over.
Only not really. At bedtime she bombarded me with questions.
“How will Nemo get to heaven? He’s not a flier.”
I was not ready for all these questions. I struggled to find the balance between telling her the truth and protecting her sensitive heart. So, I did what I thought was best. I told her Daddy put him down the drain (cough, cough: toilet). I threw honesty out the window and told her he had to because those were the fish rules. Just like in “Finding Nemo”, all drains lead to the ocean, aka fish heaven. This seemed to pacify her and she drifted off to sleep.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this were the end of the story?
Well, it isn’t.
Ya’ll, that fish died too. (You just can’t make this stuff up.)
Am I the only one who thinks parenting is so, so great, but equally so, so hard? (And I’m not talking about fish anymore.) Anxiety tries to rise up in my heart when I think about the tough questions my children will ask as they get older. I start to feel overwhelmed because I don’t feel ready.
I’d love to offer you parenting advice. But honestly, I’m just wingin’ it. I pretend to know what I’m doing until I actually do.
The good thing is, I’m not doing this alone. I have a God who offers wisdom when I ask.
I also have a 14-day guarantee on my newest Beta.